A/N Hi again!
It's been a little over two weeks and the rewrite is in full swing.
I've finished the prologue and the first few chapters and I guess the best way to describe it is 'Same-same but a little bit different'...
There are parts exactly the same as the original and there are bits I've changed and some which are completely new. I just hope you all like it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I've posted a link to the full (It's in four parts) prologue at the end of this chapter so if you want just scroll down and click~
Well, let's see if I do better this time round :)
~Prologue – IN WHICH THE TWO MEET
October 10th – 5th anniversary of Kyuubi no Yoko's defeat... Naruto aged 5.
"Is it really ok for me to have this?" A young girl with two blonde pigtails asked. In her hands was a candied apple which shone a sparkling red in the festival lights. She held it tentatively in front of her, eyeing it warily yet hungrily.
"Of course!" The giver responded. He was just an average villager whose stall she had come across. The blonde had been caught staring at his wares so of course he offered a sweet treat to the small child. "Go ahead, I promise you it's delicious." He smiled but she felt something wrong. Naru quickly shook her head, shaking out the suspicious thoughts.
He's was kind enough to give it to me so I shouldn't be rude.She thought to herself, plus this looks really delicious! She sniffed the apple, smelling nothing but the saccharide, sugary sweetness that covered it, and took a bite. The candy melted in her mouth and the apple within was still fresh and crunchy. Still, she couldn't understand why it felt so wrong.
"It's delicious." She complimented making the man smile.
"Good, why don't you eat more? If you finish it I'll give you another." The girl wolfed down the first apple, not noticing as the festival goers seemed to stop what they were doing to watch. "Here." The vendor handed her another apple which finished just as fast.
"Thanks Ojisan!" Naru chirped, "But why are you giving me all of these?" She asked as he handed her a third apple.
"Honestly? I just wanted to see how many you could eat…" His response confused her as much as the sneer afterwards unsettled her. All of a sudden the young girl was very aware of the gazes staring her down as a strange buzzing filled her head. She dropped the half-eaten candied apple in her hands as she felt the energy leave her body, forcing her to kneel as her limbs soon became too weak to hold her up. From the corner of her vision she saw a black blur dash out but it was hard to distinguish who it was as her eyes refused to focus.
"What did you do to her?" A dog masked Anbu growled out, choking the man as he roughly grabbed his neck and held him up in the air.
"I-I didn't do shit!" The vendor managed to spit out, "The demon brat ate it of its own free will!" The Anbu cursed under his breath and flung the man to the side, sending him through the weak, wooden walls of his own stall.
"Tenzo, escort him to Ibiki and the alert Hokage-sama, I'll take Naru to the hospital." A second Anbu jumped down from the roof and threw the now unconscious perpetrator over his shoulder. Tenzo gave a small nod of acknowledgment to his leader before disappearing in a swirl of leaves. The remaining Anbu scanned the area with disgust, concealed by the Konoha standardized mask. "What the hell are you all looking at?" He barked at the watching crowd, "Disperse." The civilians were quick to follows his order, scrambling to get away before they also garnered a session with the famed torturer.
"Inu?" Naru asked weakly as the Anbu came to crouch beside her.
"Don't you remember what Hokage-sama always tells you? You should never take candy from a stranger, you silly child." He hid his worry under exasperation.
"Sorry…I for-got." Her tongue felt heavy in her mouth and it was hard to talk. Her senses dulled and she could no longer see anything but a haze nor hear anything except for a strange buzz. The only thing she didn't expect was the excruciating pain that came after the frightening numbing.
"Naru…Naru!" She stopped responding and her eyes glazed over before she let out an agonizing scream.
- - - - - Mindscape - - - - -
"Urhg?" The girl groaned and waited for her senses to return. The air smelt of stagnant water, and she was lying in some sort of cool liquid. A constant dripping echoed around the area and as her blue eyes began to refocus she was greeted with darkness. "…Where am I?" She pushed herself up and out of what she hoped was water before pressing forward in the direction of a red glow. The closer she got the more the red light bathed her surroundings, revealing the sides of the tunnel she seemed to be in. Her eyes fixed onto an opening in front of her and her pace quickened slightly only to falter as she reached a dead end marked by large jail-like bars. There were big enough for her to easily fit through the gap but whatever was behind it gave off a foreboding feeling. She turned her body back the way she came only to see her only exit sealed off by a wall, as if it had never existed. "No way," She dashed back to feel for any cracks or openings, "But it was just there! I don't like it here! Let me out dammit!" the girl pounded her small fist against the wall futilely.
"Shut up, you pitiful human." A deep voice resonated around the room and she quickly tried to find the source.
"Who the hell are you!?" The girl shouted at the giant cage, "And where am I?"
"Insolent runt," the voice growled, "What a dim, little, thing you are."
"Huh? Stop making fun of me," Her fear of being in the unknown was translated into anger towards the mocking stranger, "I dare you to say it again."
"Of course, come closer and I will spell it out right in front of you." Unwisely, she did take a few brave steps forward when a large, red, clawed hand shot out.
"Gah!" She stumbled back, falling back into the water. "What the hell was that for?!"
"Was it not obvious?" A monstrous, fox-like face pressed itself against the edge of the bars, "I was hoping to kill you."
"Ahh!" The five-year old trembled and pointed a shaky finger at the beast, "What kind of monster are you?!"
"Monster?" The giant fox scoffed, "I am a much greater being than you could possibly imagine. I am the great Kyuubi no Kitsune." The fox smirked showing off its rows of sharp teeth.
"The…Kyuubi?" The world around her shook as the girl tried to comprehend the knowledge or come up with any other possibilities. The walls collapsed began to collapse inwards and the floor below her feet crumbled sending her falling down into the darkness but all she could think of were the demonic red eyes of the most fearsome beast in history.
- - - - - Reality - - - - -
"So what happened?" The Hokage asked wearily as he seated himself next to the unconscious girl on the hospital bed.
"Poison," The dog masked Anbu replied tensely, "A civilian male somehow acquired one of Fire country's worst toxin from god knows where and disguised it with sugar. He came up to Naru during the festival offered them to her. She managed to get through two and a half of the laced apples before she collapsed."
"And where is he now?" He didn't like to think his people were capable of hospitalizing a child but at the same time he understood the flaws of the human race all too well.
"Tenzo took him to Ibiki." The Anbu honestly thought the civilian deserved every moment of torture for having ever dared to hurt his charge. "We'll have the name of his supplier within a matter of moments.
"Good." The Hokage nodded approvingly.
"…Jiji?" The patient slowly awoke from her restorative sleep.
"Ah, Naru-chan, you're awake." Sarutobi smiled as he spoke to her in a soft, grandfatherly tone.
"Jiji, what happened?" Naru looked around, blanching at the white of Konoha's hospital. Her body still felt a little stiff and her mind disoriented as she tried to piece together what had happened.
"You were poisoned." He said with a stern look, "Didn't I tell you to be careful of strangers?"
"B-but," She looked a picture of sadness as her eyes began to water, "I thought he might have remembered that it was my birthday…"
"Naru," He gave her a pitying look, "I'm sorry I couldn't spend the day with you like I promised but-"
"You were busy." She finished for him, "I understand. Being Hokage is a tough job for an old man like you. But don't worry, you just have to hang on a little longer before I take that hat and you can live in peaceful retirement!" The Anbu was amused with the amount of…affectionate disrespect she showed and how fast the girl rebounded from the sad moment.
"I look forward to it." The current Hokage responded with a smile. "I might have not been able to stay with you today but I did get you a gift."
"Really!" She bounced excitedly on the bed, "What is it?!"
"Here," She was handed a rather heavy box filled neatly with kunai and shuriken.
"Wow! Thanks Jiji!" She looked at them with anticipation, "I'll be taking that hat sooner than I thought." Sarutobi chuckled at her enthusiasm.
"That's not all," He continued "Inu here has kindly volunteered to help you with any of you training. Just promise me you won't go off on your own."
"I promise. And thank you Inu-san!" Naru shot the Anbu a wide smile which earned her a hair ruffle.
"No problem." The Anbu replied.
"Well, I better get back to my paperwork," The Hokage sighed as he stood slowly, "Is there anything else you need Naru-chan?"
"Oh!" She seemed to have remembered an important fact, "The Yondaime! Did he really kill the Kyuubi? All by himself?" She asked innocently not noticing how the other occupants of the room seemed to stiffen.
"Well he wasn't all by himself," Sarutobi began bit by bit, "He had the whole village with him and a boss of the toad summons, but yes he did defeat the Kyuubi no Kitsune. Why do you ask?"
"I was just wondering," She answered simply, "If I want to surpass him I'll have to get that much stronger then!" The old man pushed any suspicions out of his mind.
"Indeed. Work hard." He said before exiting the room. Inu continued to stand by the bedside, obviously keeping a very tight guard, but his silence allowed her time to think.
Jiji wouldn't lie to me…
It was later that week that Naru went to the library to search up the definition of defeat.
2 years after – Academy graduation day... Naruto age 7.
"How much further?" A rather ordinary man asked, huffing slightly and adjusting the sack over his shoulder.
"We're here." One of his companions answered, leading him towards a cliff face. The other stayed behind silently, watching with a look of glee on his face.
"Thank god, I was starting to get a bit worn out." He dropped the sac onto the ground and began pulling it over the edge with his friends helping to speed up the process.
"After the rain today the Naka River is looking particularly violent." His companion said, peering over the edge to see the violent currents.
"Perfect." The previously silent man commented, giving the sack a harsh kick that finally sent it over the edge.
"It's done. Let's get back, my wife was planning a celebratory dinner tonight," He led the other man back in the direction of Konoha.
"Oh? Did your son graduate too? Congrats." The three walked backed happily, with small amounts of chatter passing between them.
Falling from edge of the cliff the bonds around the sack loosened, and its contents fell out. Blonde hair which fluttered in the wind, rocks bound to the small limbs and the glint of metal before it was all lost in the white water.
- - - - - Mindscape - - - - -
"Here again…" Naru muttered as she found herself back in that sewer-like place. Once again there was only one way to go, but with the knowledge of what awaited her she hesitated. But maybe, she thought, maybe she would figure out the secret that seemed to revolve around her. With that purpose in mind she strode confidently up to the familiar cavern held the nine tailed beast.
"Back again?" The Kyuubi made no attempt to hide himself, showing his furred face right from the start. Naru made sure she was well out his reach, her eyes never straying from the cunning fox.
"Kyuubi." She greeted, with a nod.
"Good, at least you remembered." He liked the respect he received though wished there was a bit more fear in her eyes.
"Where are we?" She asked, "And if you really are the Kyuubi why aren't you dead?" The fox scoffed at her, his tails swishing in agitation.
"Dead? You speak as if you mortals ever had a chance to kill me. Do not think so highly of your weak little selves. As for where we are, are you so stupid that you do not know?"
"Tell me." Naru growled out. It was bad enough that she was in an unknown place. The fact that she had a cynical monster with her just made it worse.
"You dare order me?!" His claw show forward, slashing the area dangerously close to her, "I see it is not only your ignorance which knows no bounds but your impertinence as well!"
"I just want to know where the hell I am and why the hell you're not dead!" The girl shouted as she lost whatever composure she had. The Kyuubi sat back on his haunches and sent her a mocking smile.
"Why should I tell you, runt?"
"Because!" She shouted at him. He merely ignored her, deciding his time was better spent asleep. Bastard fox, she thought, slightly surprised it sounded so loud.
"Do not insult me human runt." The Kyuubi growled.
"How did you hear that?" Naru questioned. Didn't I think it?
"Shut up and go away." He responded. "It is hard to sleep when you are being so loud."
YOU SUCK, YOU SUCK, YOU SUCK, YOU SUCK, YOU SUCK!
"SILENCE!" The fox roared. This time Naru completely ignored him, sitting on the floor cross-legged with a thoughtful expression across her face. Memories flitted past and it was more than once that she could remember villagers muttering 'demon' as she passed. The fact that the fox could hear her thoughts only added to her suspicions and growing sense of dread.
"So you finally understand." The fox stated, watching the human child that was his jailor.
"But it can't be!" She denied, "No way! How is it even possible?"
"Oh, you humans are known for making the impossible happen, especially in dire situations." He gave her a calculative look. "It is written in your history books is it not? You had better thank your precious Yondaime." Naru felt her world tear a little. To think that the man she admired and looked up to the most had done something like this to her. It was incomprehensible.
"I was not lying when I said to be thankful," the fox continued, "In fact why don't you stretch that gratitude to myself? After all without me you would be dead countless times already."
"If he hadn't done something like that I wouldn't have been put in those situations!" The blonde exclaimed. In the large gap in her memories, from graduating to Iruka's promise of ramen, it was easy to assume she had been attacked again. Which meant right now, she was most likely dying, again.
"You really are stupid, for someone like you to be my container…what a disappointment." She bristled as the words hit her particularly deep. She wasn't a disappointment. She was going to make her precious people proud.
"…Do you know why? Why the Fourth chose me?" She asked, unusually sedate.
"I do not share the same mindset as you foolish beings, therefore, I can only speculate." He answered, being rather civil.
"Then, why do you think he chose me?" Naru reworded the question.
"… I'll make a trade with you," the fox offered, "Anything I know as long as you remove this tag." A lone tail swept out of the cage and directed her attention to a small slip of paper. The girl vaguely recognized the design as the same one that appeared on her stomach whenever she accessed her chakra.
"What happens if I remove it?" She questioned. The fox stayed silent and it was all the answer she needed. As much as her curiosity burned she wouldn't risk a questionable deal.
"Are you fine with not knowing?" The fox probed. It was obvious she wasn't but she would do.
"I'll ask Jiji." Naru huffed.
"And how will he respond?" His face loomed closer as he spoke, "The same Jiji that hid my existence from you?" She faltered.
"I'll have to ask and see his answer myself then!" The blonde exclaimed.
- - - - - Reality - - - - -
Her second awakening was rather abrupt, and she could feel a painful burning in her lungs. Instinctively she coughed, vomiting out a decent amount of water.
"Are you alright?" The asker was an older teen with onyx eyes, and black hair tied in a low ponytail. Despite his young age he was dressed in the customary, Konoha-issued Anbu gear with his mask hanging by his waist.
"Yes," She shivered slightly as the wind swept past her drenched body, "Thank you for saving me, Weasel-san." It was strange to actually see his face for once. She was sure if he didn't have his mask she wouldn't be able to recognize him by his looks. Of course his voice, no matter how little he spoke, was something she would be able to pick out due to the unique calming tenor.
"It's fine." He returned his mask to its usual position and gently picked her up, providing a small amount of bodily warmth. "I'll take you to the hospital." He continued, "Do you remember what happened?"
"No," She felt the back of her head, wincing at a particularly tender spot, "I must have been knocked out."
"Jiji!" Naru skipped into the Hokage office, showing no effects of the previous life-endangering situation.
"Ah, Naru-chan," Sarutobi sighed in relief, "It's good to see you're doing well."
"Mmhm! Plus, look!" She held up her headband for him to see, "I graduated as rookie of the year and Iruka promised that he'd buy me ramen tomorrow…as much as I want too."
"Congratulations." The old Hokage smiled but wavered slightly at the end, "But Weasel told me you got into a bit of trouble before. He found you sinking into the Naka River with stones tied to you. You swallowed a lot of water and stopped breathing so he had to perform CPR. We've already found the perpetrators and decided they would be perfect for Ibiki's apprentice to practice on. How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine, really. But CPR?" The girl tilted her head to the side, "What's that?
"It stands for Cardiopulmonary resuscitation." She knew that word wouldn't stay in her head for long, "Don't you remember studying it in the academy?" Naru shook her head, she was most likely asleep that day.
"Basically it's used to save drowning people by forcing air into their lungs and pushing down on their chest to get there heart beating." He explained.
"Oh! Mouth-to-mouth." She remembered. "Wait…mouth-to-mouth…?" He nodded and she felt the heat rise to her cheeks. I feel like a total girl, she thought as the meaning came to mind, I hope I get over this soon.
"Are you ok?" The Hokage asked seeing the girl's face redden. He thought it could've been a fever but soon began chuckling at the real reason. "I think Fugaku should be proud of having such a strong and handsome ninja as his son." He commented slyly.
"Jiji, stop it." Naru whined, "It's embarrassing."
"Ah, my little Naru's growing up." He said wistfully. It was a very familial moment shared between them that brought out a peaceful atmosphere, yet that in itself gave her time to think as she dragged her thoughts to a more imperative topic.
"Ne," She began slowly, "You promised never to lie to me right Jiji."
"Of course," He replied, taking note of her change in demeanour, "Is there something you want to ask?"
"Do I… do I have the Kyuubi no Kitsune sealed into me." She looked up to see shock all over his face. She was never one for hedging but maybe she needed more tact when discussing matters like this.
"How-" He sighed, suddenly appearing much older, "Yes."
"So it's true." She murmured under her breath. Though, it was good that he was keeping to his word.
"May I ask how you found out?" He asked seriously, wondering if he would have to order an execution anytime soon.
"I met him." Naru replied.
"You met him?" Sarutobi repeated. He had full trust in the previous Hokage's sealing abilities but if by a small chance the Kyuubi got out there would be hell to pay. "How?"
"Well, when I was…dying I entered…my mind? And he was just sitting there, in a big cage." She explained rather badly.
"Did he say anything?" Sarutobi asked slightly worried. Maybe he should get Inoichi to check the girl.
"He insulted me." She began, "And then I figured out that the Yondaime sealed him into me but, I don't know why? Jiji, why did he have to choose me?" Her tone became pleading and she pinned her surrogate grandfather with a hurt filled stare, "Why didn't you tell me I had the Kyuubi?"
"You were too young, and you still are." He replied with a sigh, "I didn't want you to know until you were sixteen or at least a chuunin."
"That's a long time." She noted, more than twice her current age.
"With knowledge comes responsibility." He quoted, "I wanted you to be able to handle it but you're doing quite well at the moment."
"He hasn't done anything terribly bad to me so far," Naru stated, "He just seems grumpy all the time but I guess I would be too if I was caged up and sealed away… I think compared to Kyuubi who I know is evil and the people that threw me into the river, who could have been anyone on the street, I'm more afraid of them." The Hokage stayed silent, he understood where she was getting at but the knowledge did nothing to reassure him. "So why did the Yondaime choose me?" She reiterated.
"I-...I can't tell you, not yet." Sarutobi answered, "I made a promise that I would wait until you reach chuunin level."
"A promise?" She understood it was bad to break them so she wouldn't pressure him too hard, "To who?"
"Your parents." He replied.
"My parents?" The topic was a new area for her. "Did you know them Jiji?"
"Of course," He said with a smile, "I know every ninja inside this village. But-"
"I can't know who they are?" She guessed. He nodded with a minute smile.
"I promise, when you are older." He assured, "But, if you happen to figure out who your parents are or why the Yondaime chose you beforehand…well, then I wouldn't exactly be breaking my promise. The hints are all there for you. You're a smart girl Naru-chan, if you want to know you'll be able to find your answer." She remained slightly unconvinced but realized in the end it was all a matter of time.
"And if I can't figure it by the time I'm chuunin you'll tell me anyway?" He nodded. "Alright, I guess I'll have to do my best then." She gave him a soft smile, "I think I'll head off to the library."
"I'll have Tenzo escort you." As he spoke a lone Anbu appeared beside her.
"Thanks." She gave Sarutobi a small wave before dashing out of the door, Anbu in tow.
"Inu," Sarutobi called as he addressed the second hidden Anbu.
"Hokage-sama." The grey haired Anbu answered
"I heard that you'll be resigning from Anbu in the next few days," The Hokage leant back in his chair, lighting his pipe, "If that's case I have the perfect mission for you."
A/N It's different... but I like it better and I hope you, as the readers, do as well.